Allen's advice to Edwards: Keep coming

Ray Edwards proclaimed some lofty individual goals for the season, but the league's top pass rusher from 2007 said Edwards isn't frustrated with a slow start, at least when measured in sacks. We look at the numbers and the advice offered by Jared Allen.

Back in May, shortly after defensive end Ray Edwards proclaimed that his goal for the season was to break Michael Strahan's single-season sack record, Edwards said he wasn't getting too much grief from his teammates about his comments.

"I'm pretty sure it's going to come. Once the media gets a hold of it, you know how you guys do it and make a big deal out it, but it all comes with the territory," he said back then, adding that he's not worried about attracting too much attention. "They ain't worried about me. I'm just the other guy on the defensive line. We've got three Pro Bowlers on the same line, so I'm just the other guy right now. I've got to make a name for myself."

At this point, he's still just the other guy. After seven games, Edwards has a half a sack, which came two weeks ago against Detroit. He would need to average 2½ sacks per game the rest of the season break Strahan's mark.

In all reality, his teammates have joked on occasion about Edwards' remarks – reserve defensive end Brian Robison said he didn't know how Edwards was going to break it with Robison eclipsing it too – but the general feeling was that it was good to have high goals.

The acquisition of the reigning NFL sacks leaders, Jared Allen, was what prompted Edwards' remarks. Allen said there hasn't been any frustration he's detected from Edwards to this point.

"It's not frustration. Ray just wants to help the team wins. Yeah, (getting a sack) makes you feel good, but there are a lot of other great things you can do besides sack the quarterback in a game. Maybe he's a little frustrated, but it hasn't played out. He hasn't become vocal about it or animated or had a bad time at work. You've just got to keep sawing wood. You've just got to keep chopping away and eventually they'll get there," Allen said.

"It's not like he said anything that everyone doesn't think. Every year, we go out and we all try to break records. The Patriots last year can say they didn't care about being undefeated. I guarantee they wanted to be undefeated. They wanted to be undefeated. Heck, one year I want to be able to break Strahan's sack record. That's a huge feat; they're good goals to have. Obviously, we go about things a different way. I keep my goals to myself. Ray is a talented player, but he's young still. He has a lot to learn and he works hard, and that's all you can ask for."

With a bye this week, Kevin Williams leads the team with six sacks and Allen has five. Nobody else has more than two, and the team has 16 total, about 2½ more than the league average of 13.6.

"I just tell Ray to keep with it. I know it can get frustrating because he has a half a sack or something like that right now. It's one of those things, if you come out and state that you're going to do something, a lot of times it doesn't work out for you. He just needs to keep coming because he's been there," Allen said. "He's missed a couple. You can't go out and try to get a sack. You've just got to go out there and play the game of football and it will all work out. If you're required to stop the run that play, you've got to stop the run. If it's a passing down, then you've got to rush the passer. You can't start overanalyzing it because then you start questioning what you're doing, start questioning what you know. For me, the advice I always give him is always revert back to your techniques, always revert back to the basics. I do drills every day – just little, stupid drills to just constantly keep me where I need to be."

Allen is right about Edwards being close. Allen leads the team with 19 quarterback hurries. Kevin Williams has 14 and Edwards has 12.

Allen said the Vikings being so good against the run has actually worked against them when it comes to trying to pressure the quarterback. The Vikings are ranked third against the run in the NFL and first in the NFC.

In Allen's estimation, opposing teams are substituting a short passing game for their rushing attempts.

"Because we're so good at stopping the run, teams tend to throw a lot of short passes, and short passes or max protection becomes a run game and it kind of throws off your rhythm. Pass rushing is a rhythm. You have to get five, six, seven rushes in a row to start getting a rhythm or a feel," he said. "… When offenses, do things that really upset your rhythm, that's what's frustrating. Right now, Kevin has got six and I've got five. If you average one a game for your whole career, you'll be at the top of your list."

Actually, no Viking has ever averaged one sack per game for his career. Not even close. According to Viking Update's Scott Grams, Carl Eller leads the franchise with 0.62 sacks per game among those with a full season of play. Allen currently stands at 0.71 seven games into his Vikings career.

Edwards, meanwhile, is still searching for his first solo sack of the 2008 season.

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